As the temperature starts to fall my mind turns to all things soup.  I love soup and I love casseroles and I cooked both yesterday. (I washed the same pot 3 times!)  There is something comforting and simple about soup and it keeps well.  I remember, on the few trips I made to Our Lady of the Resurrection Monastery in LaGrangville, New York, that Brother Victor always seemed to have a pot of soup on the stove.  Soup is simple and easy to make and its good for you.

Before I get to the actual recipe of what I cooked yesterday I need to say a few things about stock.  I have written a lot about fresh food and knowing where your food comes from.  Well this takes some planning and preparation but it is well worth it.  Make your own stock!  I bought a few cans of Swanson Vegetarian Vegetable Stock at the store yesterday, and although it tastes just fine its not that good for you.  It contains 40% of the daily max of salt, MSG, and high Fructose Corn Syrup!  Make your own and you can control what goes in.  Controlling the amount of salt in necessary.  When I make stock, be it beef, chicken, or veg I do not use any salt that way I can control the amount of salt I use in the soup.  After the soup recipe I will post a simple Vegetable Stock recipe that I have used in the past.  So here goes.

Lentil & Pasta Soup
From the Book, When You Fast… Recipes for Lenten Seasons

6 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 cup dry brown lentils
1 cup chopped onions (I cheated and used frozen)
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
pinch cayenne pepper
1/3 cup broken thin spaghetti of small pasta shapes (I used spaghetti but in the future I will use elbows)
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
4 to 5 tsp fresh lemon juice

In a 3 qt sauce pan, bring stock to a boil
Add lentil, onions, tomatoes, & garlic.
Bring to the boil again.
Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender (You may need to add a little water or stock to keep the soup from getting to thick)
When the lentils are tender, add the cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, dry pasta, salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Continue to simmer until the pasta is done, adding more stock or water as needed to keep the soup from getting to think.
Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Add salt and more pepper as desired.
Serves 4 to 6

Simple Monastery Vegetable Stock
Makes about 12 cups
From the Book: 12 Months of Monastery Soups

18 cups water
3 carrots, sliced
2 turnips, sliced and diced
2 zucchinis, sliced
2 leeks, sliced
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 celery stocks, sliced
1 small lettuce, coarsely chopped (or a few leaves of cabbage)
4 bay leaves
1 orange peel, minced
a few springs of parsley
black pepper corns to taste
salt to taste

Pour the water into a large soup pot and add all the ingredients.  Bring water to a boil and keep it boiling for about 30 minutes.  Stir from time to time.

Reduce the heat to low-medium, stir some more, cover the pot, and let the broth simmer for about 2 hours.  Filter the broth through a fine sieve, strainer, or cheesecloth.  Allow it to cool & then store it in the refrigerator or freezer for future use.

1 Comment

  1. usually when I buy canned stock I alawys go to the organic soup section and you can get stock that is very pure with very little salt and no sugar or junke in can even get chicken stock made from free range chicken..
    I never buy swanson or any of that commercial stuff.

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